There is a strong relationship between early life experiences and how babies develop cognitively, socially, emotionally and physically throughout their lives. The Early Years Framework states that:
‘It is during our very earliest years and even pre-birth that a large part of the pattern for our future adult life is set.’
(Scottish Government, 2008d, p 1)
This national guidance, Pre-Birth to Three: Positive Outcomes for Scotland’s Children and Families is built on research and seeks to promote evidence-based approaches. Pre-Birth to Three: Positive Outcomes for Scotland’s Children and Families recognises the importance of pregnancy and the first years of life in influencing children’s development and future outcomes.
A focus on this period is therefore critical to achieving positive outcomes for Scotland’s children and families. Staff working with babies and families understand that learning takes place initially within the womb. They also appreciate that babies arrive into the world with their individual personalities, ready to adapt to, and be influenced by their environment.
This national guidance sets the context for high quality care and education and seeks to identify key features that support and promote evidence-based approaches. Drawing upon national and international research, the guidance sets out four key principles for best starts and positive outcomes, through which effective support and learning opportunities for very young children can be promoted.
The four key principles are:
- Rights of the Child
- Responsive Care
Based on these key principles, the guidance proposes sensitive and respectful approaches and ways of interacting that are beneficial to children and families. Nine features have been identified to put the key principles into practice.
The nine features are:
- Role of Staff
- Observation, Assessment and Planning
- Partnership Working
- Health and Wellbeing
- Literacy and Numeracy
All of the key principles and features of practice are interrelated and interdependent.
If you would like to find out more about the Pre-Birth to Three document please click on this link to Education Scotland’s website.